CruiseHigh speed rail a key topic at CruiseWorld Hong Kong.

Expanded rail-cruise segment a game changer for Hong Kong’s cruise industry

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Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will be one of the winners from the new high-speed rail link connecting China with Hong Kong.
Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will be one of the winners from the new high-speed rail link connecting China with Hong Kong.

“China has largest population in the world and Chinese people love travelling,” said Irene Chua, group publisher, Northstar Travel Media, in her opening speech. “Cruises offer a new exciting experience for the Chinese traveller and the new MTR High Speed Rail connection offers a new mode of commute for the rail-cruise segment.”

The hot topic at CruiseWorld Hong Kong this month was the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and its capacity to open up as yet untapped cruise markets in China for the Hong Kong market.

Kenneth Wong, general manager MICE & Cruise, Hong Kong Tourism Board, called it “a game changer”.

“China has largest population in the world and Chinese people love travelling,” said Irene Chua, group publisher, Northstar Travel Media, in her opening speech. “Cruises offer a new exciting experience for the Chinese traveller and the new MTR High Speed Rail connection offers a new mode of commute for the rail-cruise segment.”

General manager – Intercity, MTR Corporation, Carmen Li introduced the link to delegates, saying the 26-kilometre Hong Kong Section links to more than 25,000 kilometres of China’s National High-speed Rail network and puts 44 rail stations covering 33 cities in direct connection to Hong Kong. 

Medium-haul destinations like Changsha, Guilin and Xiamen are now within four hours, and it is just nine hours to Beijing, for example, with no need to factor in travel to the airport or weather disturbances.

More than 1000 rail-cruisers travelled to Hong Kong in November to cruise with World Dream, said Christine Li, senior vice president and head of marketing and communication, Genting Cruise Lines. 

“We took the initiative to promote rail-cruise from the beginning by partnering with HKTB and travel agencies back in May and launching our promotion to 10 cities in September.” 

Online sales of rail cruises have been growing quickly, according to Jianbin Liu, general manager of Cruise Business Department, Nanjing Tuniu International Travel Service Co Ltd. He said places like Guilin and Changsha used to feel quite remote, but now see 20%-30% growth in rail cruises and he believes the momentum will continue.”


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